Cloth or disposable face masks provide another means of protection in response to COVID-19. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Cloth or disposable face masks provide another means of protection in response to COVID-19. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Column: Masks may need to become mandatory to get a handle on COVID-19

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

  • Jul. 24, 2020 6:30 a.m.

If you don’t already own a protective face covering, let alone have started wearing it during public outings, you may want to pick one up soon.

The B.C. government has yet to make the mask use mandatory, though almost daily our provincial health officer and health minister remind us we should be wearing protective face coverings in circumstances where physical distancing may be difficult.

That message was again repeated in Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix’s joint statement of Wednesday, July 22, when they touched on the spike of 35 new active cases of COVID-19. The two noted there were several community exposure events and one active community outbreak being addressed.

As of July 22, approximately 1,000 people were in self-isolation in relation to 70 active cases in Kelowna linked to public gatherings on Canada Day. Henry said she was in discussion with Interior Health on enacting health restrictions specific to the Okanagan.

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran stressed those who are out in public need to play by the rules.

“Act as if the group next to you, somebody in that group may have COVID,” said Basran.

The Observer has received several messages from people concerned about what they’re seeing while out shopping or in public spaces – others who are not respecting physical distancing guidelines and/or not wearing masks. Those concerned citizens stressed the point that we’re not yet out of the woods, and there is no place for complacency amidst a pandemic.

One reader advised concerned citizens to contact Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison and Interior Health. Interestingly, if there is an order on making masks mandatory, it may come not from the province, but from local government.

Read more: Two individuals with COVID-19 traced to District on Bernard in Kelowna

Read more: Interior Health identifies COVID-19 exposure at Browns Socialhouse in Kelowna

As of Aug. 1, masks will be mandatory at all indoor public spaces and on all public vehicles within the City of Calgary. Mayor Naheed Nenshi said this bold action is needed now if we want schools to open and do not want to close down the economy again. Calgary’s website stated this temporary bylaw mandating face coverings was informed by feedback from more than 2,000 local businesses and City of Calgary operations.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District recently echoed the recommendations from Henry and Dix on the use of masks. This was after the CSRD directors raised concerns that “citizens are becoming too lax” regarding efforts to flatten the curve.

Even if they aren’t made mandatory, masks are quickly becoming the accessory no one should be without.

Lachlan Labere is editor for the Salmon Arm Observer.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Salmon Arm

Just Posted

Kelowna flags were flown at half-mast after the discovery of a residential school burial site in Kamloops. (File photo)
Central Okanagan school board chair reflects on recent tragedies

Moyra Baxter offers condolenses to residential school victims, slain Muslim family

Lightning in Kelowna, B.C. (Contributed)
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms overnight

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Million-dollar lotto ticket sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Most Read